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The BBC's John Sopel
"The parties have been re-stating their key themes"
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Tony Blair visiting Dumfries
urges the electorate to get out and vote
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William Hague addresses voters
in Winchester
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Chairman of the Lib Dems, Malcolm Bruce
"We would regard ourselves as the effective opposition"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 6 June, 2001, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
Leaders make final appeals
Ffion and William Hague at Smithfield
Ffion and William Hague started early in London
The leaders of the main political parties have been racing around the UK on the final day of the campaign to shore up support and reach out to wavering voters.

Prime Minister Tony Blair - stopping off in Dumfries - urged people to vote on Thursday and allow him to "continue the work we have begun".

The future of Britain is on the ballot paper tomorrow

Tony Blair
Conservative leader William Hague told a rally in London the election was a choice about the future of the UK.

Charles Kennedy has put the NHS at the heart of his campaign and will have taken his Liberal Democrat message to every corner of the country by the end of the day.

The party leaders set themselves a packed agenda which will have seen them each covering hundreds of miles by the evening.

There was encouragement for some of the parties from an ICM opinion poll for the Guardian which gave Labour a reduced 11% lead over the Conservatives, with the Liberal Democrats also gaining ground.

People power

Speaking at his final news conference, held in Nottingham, Tony Blair said Labour was taking nothing for granted and urged voters to cast their ballots on Thursday.

Tony Blair and Gordon Brown
Labour is campaigning hard on the last day
"I say to people: this is your election, your moment of maximum power. Tomorrow it is not the media, not the pollsters, not even the politicians who are in power.

"You are in power. You hold the key to the future. You, the British people, are the boss."

He added: "The future of Britain is on the ballot paper tomorrow."

Mr Blair travelled to key Labour seats in England, Wales and Scotland where he pressed home his line that only Labour will improve public services.

In his last major speech of the campaign, William Hague said the Conservatives would make Britain a place people would be "proud to call our home".

"If you've had enough of being told that we should be ashamed of our history and cannot govern ourselves, if you want a government that believes in the future of our country, I say vote for what you value," he said.

"Tomorrow is a choice not just about who will run this country for the next five years but about the country that their children and grandchildren will inherit."

Mr Hague started the day with a visit to London's Smithfield market and is visiting key constituencies across the country before ending the day in his own seat of Richmond, in North Yorkshire.

Public services

Charles Kennedy told an informal Liberal Democrat rally in Weston-Super-Mare that the election gave voters the chance to record their views on the quality of public services in the UK.

Charles Kennedy
Mr Kennedy is predicting more Lib Dem seats
"If you want more investment in quality schools and hospitals, more for pensioners and the deployment of more police there is only one vote to cast tomorrow and that's a vote for the Liberal Democrats."

Mr Kennedy has spent the day visiting key target seats in the west and north of England and will end the day in his constituency of Ross, Skye and Inverness West.

Scottish National Party Leader John Swinney has focused on health spending, arguing that Scotland has only a little time to save the NHS.

Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones entered the last day's campaigning by predicting his party would increase its number of MPs and its share of the vote in the election.


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